Radiculopathy - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of radiculopathy?

The symptoms of radiculopathy depend on which nerves are affected. The nerves exiting from the neck (cervical spine) control the muscles of the neck and arms and supply sensation there. The nerves from the middle portion of the back (thoracic spine) control the muscles of the chest and abdomen and supply sensation there. The nerves from the lower back (lumbar spine) control the muscles of the buttocks and legs and supply sensation there.

The most common symptoms of radiculopathy are pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms or legs. It is common for patients to also have localized neck or back pain as well. Lumbar radiculopathy that causes pain that radiates down a lower extremity is commonly referred to as sciatica. Thoracic radiculopathy causes pain from the middle back that travels around to the chest. It is often mistaken for shingles.

Some patients develop a hypersensitivity to light touch that feels painful in the area involved. Less commonly, patients can develop weakness in the muscles controlled by the affected nerves. This can indicate nerve damage.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: VAW1717, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I was just diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy located at C7. My symptoms were pain in my biceps area of my right arm. I also experience numbness and tingling in my right arm as well as neck and upper back and right shoulder aching. I have a constant dull ache in my upper right arm, primarily located at the center of my biceps. I have always been a bit clumsy, but went to my doctor when I started to randomly drop things. Example being one day I was flat ironing my long hair and I dropped the flat iron out of my right hand (I am right hand dominate) and burned my left hand. My right arm and hand get fatigued quickly.

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Comment from: Jide J, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 26

With radiculopathy, the pain started from the lumbar area, on and off, now for sixteen years; sometimes slow, sometimes snappy. Now the pain has radiated to my left leg with the muscle at the back of the thigh being the most excruciating and seemingly unending. The sole with the toes are numbed. Pain pills don"t seem to be working.

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